German parliament backs Afghan AWACS mission

AP News
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Posted: Mar 25, 2011 7:47 AM
German parliament backs Afghan AWACS mission

Germany's parliament has endorsed sending up to 300 crew members to man AWACS surveillance planes in Afghanistan _ a move meant to take pressure off NATO allies enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya.

Parliament's lower house on Friday voted 407-113 with 32 abstentions to approve the government plan. It isn't clear exactly when the mission will start.

Germany doesn't want to get drawn into the military operation over Libya. That led it this week to yank German ships and air crews from other NATO operations in the Mediterranean Sea.

But Berlin says that, while it doesn't want to send troops itself, it supports the aims of the Libya operation and wants to ease pressure on allies by offering more support in Afghanistan.

Germany already has some 5,000 ground troops in Afghanistan.